What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It'll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
The module is divided into three blocks:
Block 1: Life
Block 1, which you will study in print, starts with biology and ecological ideas and uses varied examples to describe interrelationships between plants, animals and the wider environment while developing your study skills. You will learn about the unique role of humans, and explore how we have changed the environment to suit our needs through farming or conservation. You’ll consider how we can tell what effect current lifestyles have on the environment by introducing the ecological footprint model and look at sustainable living and how we can conserve declining species and habitats. This block also introduces key mathematical ideas and you will learn techniques to help you tackle everyday mathematical problems.
Block 2: Water
Water is essential for life and fundamental to what we do. In Block 2 you will move to online study where you’ll investigate how water has shaped our planet and our lives. You will learn and develop skills that will aid your understanding and use of a variety of tools used in science. You will also access The Open University Library and the wide variety of materials that this can offer. You will investigate the presence of water in potatoes and how water is required for yeast to respire in some home experiments, and through these home experiments, learn about how we can use experimental data to develop and refine hypotheses. Underpinning this is some essential mathematics and further computing skills to develop your study of science, technology and mathematics.
Block 3: Home
Block 3 which continues online, introduces you to the subjects of design, engineering and computing around the central concept of home. You will find out how homes are designed, and can be designed better, through the use of engineering and computing. Block 3 is a practical block where you will complete a number of design, engineering, and computing activities and experiments. You’ll also be introduced to an online design studio where you will keep a portfolio of the work you do. You’ll also continue to learn mathematics and IT skills to support your developing knowledge of some computing and engineering concepts.
After each block there is an Options week, giving you the opportunity to learn more about an area that interests you. You may also choose the option of catching up, or revisiting material that you missed or would like to engage with again. There are so many things to learn about in science, technology and maths that we can’t possibly fit it all into one module, so this is your opportunity to choose an area that interests you most.
The module includes multimedia material and a website with further study materials and resources as well as online quizzes and interactive exercises to help test your understanding.
As you study this module you will build your confidence and develop your study skills, including:
- reading and interpreting information
- producing written communications
- time management and organisational skills
- problem solving.
You will also have the opportunity to gain skills such as working with audio and video material, using online forums and searching the internet for information. This experience will provide you with a gentle introduction to using a computer to support your study, and will equip you with the basic IT skills you will need for the next step in your studies.
Towards the end of the module you will have the opportunity to participate in activities which will help you to make decisions about your future study plans.